The average American consumer spends about $700 a year for Christmas gifts and related holiday expenses. Finding that much money in your budget may seem like a lot, which explains why so many American's use credit when shopping for Christmas gifts. If you're one of those people and you don't want to do it again next year, there are many ways to go about saving money.
One of the best ways to save money for Christmas gifts is through a Christmas Club. Christmas Clubs are often offered through local credit unions and work similarly to a savings account. Generally, you set up how much you want to put into your Christmas Club each week and an automatic deduction is made from your checking account. Christmas Clubs usually garner monthly interest and are paid out in late October or early November - just in time for Christmas shopping. While Christmas Clubs don't have high dividend rates, they do usually offer around 3% yearly. What's more, most won't allow you to withdraw money without incurring a fee, so that's an extra level of encouragement to let your money grow to ensure it will be there when you need it.
Another idea for cutting costs for Christmas gifts is to order online. Many shoppers get caught up in the experience of holiday shopping and they over-spend. If you make a list of exactly what you need, you can go out on to the web and find the lowest prices on just that item. Also, if you start shopping earlier in the year, you can save a lot of money online. By checking sites like Overstock.com, you might just find the perfect gift at up to 80% off! Just remember - pay with your debit card or via Paypal; if you use your credit card, you're more likely to overspend.
Sometimes ordering gifts online or joining a Christmas club isn't the answer. If you're on a very tight budget, consider making homemade items for Christmas gifts. Everyone loves homemade Christmas cookies and goodies, as well as other items that come from the heart. For your spouse or children, consider putting together a scrapbook of your lives together. You can do this rather inexpensively just by picking up some supplies at a craft store and using the photos you invariably have stacked somewhere in one of your closets. You can also make your own gift certificates good for things like a special candlelit dinner for two at home or a week off from washing dishes.
Spending for Christmas gifts isn't the only place to think about savings. If you really get in to decorating your house, you should look into things like wholesale Christmas lights. At noveltylights.com, you can save up to 30% off retail if you order in bulk. Get together with your neighbors and you can all chip in and enjoy the savings on wholesale Christmas lights.
Whether you choose to join a Christmas club, make your own gifts or save on wholesale decorations, above all, keep in mind that Christmas isn't about things. It's about spending time with your family and friends and sharing your love with one another. Your family and your true friends don't care how much you spend; all that matters to them is that you're around to share yourself with them.